As we move into fall, waterfowl numbers increase and wintering songbirds start arriving at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. The song birds include the Northern shrike, winter wren, ruby-crowned kinglet, golden-crowned kinglet, varied thrush, yellow-rumped warbler and sparrows. Refuge visitors also can expect to see peregrine falcons, merlins and American kestrels arrive to forage on wintering birds. Bald eagles also will be on hand to hunt the gathering waterfowl flocks.
While the birds are returning, National Wildlife Refuge System Week will be celebrated Oct. 14-20.
Refuge visitors also are reminded that waterfowl hunting season begins Oct. 13. Because a portion of the refuge is open to hunting, a section of the Estuary Boardwalk Trail will be closed until hunting season ends in late January.
There will be a number of changes in operations at Mount Rainier National Park in the coming week.
The Sunrise Day Lodge shuts down for the season today.
The White River Campground closes today, followed by the Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh campgrounds on Oct. 8.
Wilderness and climbing information centers are closing for the season starting with the Paradise Guide House on Monday, followed by White River and Longmire wilderness information centers on Oct. 9.
Summer hours at Longmire Museum (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) and Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center (10 a.m.-6 p.m.) will continue through Oct. 8.
The picnic areas at Paradise, Cougar Rock, Box Canyon and Ohanapecosh all will be closed Oct. 8. The Ohanapecosh Visitor Center (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) will close for the season the same day.
For more information, go to nps.gov/mora.
VISIT THE VOLCANO
There is still time to visit Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument’s Johnston Ridge Observatory. The visitor center, open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, is scheduled to close on Oct. 28.
State Route 504, the road leading to the observatory, often remains open after the center closes until the first major snowstorm of the winter. After that, the Washington State Department of Transportation will stop plowing the road. When that happens, the road will be closed at a gate that allows access to the Hummocks Trail and Coldwater Lake.
For more information, go to fs.usda.gov/mountsthelens.